Sunday, 1 December 2019

Bulls Head Bob 2019. Bobs Thumb. Christmas Party time in Birmingham.

Ho Ho Ho,   

Happy Christmas you Brummies, mates, amigos, amici, freunde, Japanese loft boys and lastly Feminists against Femininity.  Such is the diverse readership of this blog.    Happy Christmas to John at Brumbeat.Net for letting me lodge in his
Brumbeat Towers.  AND... a last christmas greeting to the Accident and Emergency ward who, last week, encased my left hand in a cast as I stupidly broke my thumb!!   I never realised what you can't do with a strapped up left hand although I do know its put a stop to my guitar activities for a while.  The band aren't too happy about the loss of potential earnings over Christmas but a Happy Christmas to them too, even the bass player who thinks I should cast off my cast and suffer for my art but bass players are always the least compassionate and the first who want to be paid, or is that the drummer?  sometimes they morph into each other.

It has also curtailed my typing abilities quite severely so this unfortunately isn't going to be a rambling Christmas issue which is a shame as I have a nice piece about a couple of Brummies who featured on the Brumbeat scene that I will now have to delay to the new year, hand permitting.  So sorry about that but I will start typing it from tomorrow so should be ready for the Jan 2020 first blog of the year.

Its a bit of a sorry Christmas story in the City this year too.   As a kid in the 50's the arrival of Father Christmas to Lewis' Department store was a great event and was probably the biggest draw.   Moreover it was the start of Christmas for many families, the line to see Santa in his grotto was enormous.    The House of Fraser store took over from them 8 years ago and the grotto was fabulous, however this year it too has fallen foul of of a cash shortfall and the grotto has been cancelled.   The question that enters my head is whats going to happen to all those Christmas elves in the North Pole who've been making toys all year long?     Its all a bit like Miracle on 34th Street.    

I don't like the German Christmas Market either, overpriced food and novelties.  So you might want to get yourself down to the underpass on Suffolk Street where the Birmingham City Social Christmas market is situated, and has a nice family feel to it, there are many events there featuring Brummie musicians and live bands.  It is open now and will be there until Dec21.  Every Friday there is a "Buskers Battle" featuring Brums finest buskers against each other to be crowned Brums Best Busker, I suggested that my bass player could participate.

The former Jamies Italian Restaurant overlooking the Bull Ring will have its doors open anew as a winter wonderland of quirky Christmas foods and 80.000 christmas lights known as "Once Upon a Time in Birmingham" and will feature a host of Christmas activities and "Carol-Oke" sing-a-longs etc.  Check the Birmingham Mail for details about the opening date.

Christmas time was always a big earner for Brumbeat bands in the 60's with so many places to play at, I loved it although it meant we only got Christmas Day off and would be solidly booked up for the rest of the month.  It was great to see the audiences fully into the spirit of things.

I shall certainly be enjoying being with all the family, some will be there courtesy of the wonders of the internet which is marvellous for us all.

Oggies Christmas Card.
It has been a bit of a tradition to send a Christmas card to my old mate Oggie who hates Christmas and who sometimes resides in California for the Christmas
season, the cards have normally featured ladies with little Christmas Apparel about their bodies which he doesn't hate.   My fiends at Feminists against Feminism have submitted their photo suggesting I should make a stand for equality so, just for you cuties.....Happy Christmas Oggie.!

and a Happy Christmas to everyone who have wasted some of their lives reading the Bulls Head Bob blog.   I sincerely hope that you and yours have a great Christmas season.   

copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Friday, 1 November 2019

Bulls Head Bob Nov 2019. Me and Mrs Bob at the Movies "YESTERDAY". 60's Major Influences ERIC CLAPTON IS GOD... "No he's Not!"

Gooooooooooooodness me!!

Hello people, Brummies, Chummies and Mummies and of course you Musicians dipping your toes into the pool of nostalgia.

Being an old romantic, I recently took Mrs Bob out to the Movies or "Gooin to the Picture House" as we still refer to it because it sounds great in a Brummie accent......  "Taking her out? You old softie Bob" I can hear you say, well maybe I am but for the past three months she's been busy digging out the cellar to install an indoor pool like Bonio from U2.   
for the lady in your life

She's made full use of that wheelbarrow she got for her birthday a few years back too, so money well spent there.  To make her task easier I invested in a new Spear and Jackson "ladies spade" in blue to go with her eyes and, on top of that, borrowed a sturdy piece of rope and a plank so she could haul the barrow loads of earth up the steps from the cellar, through the kitchen and up to the neighbours house who want the never hurts to help out a neighbour does it? 

Being a guitarist means I can't use my own delicate hands and am excused from doing any manual work and I was naturally concerned she might be overdoing it, so in a thoughtful and supportive gesture I repositioned my rather comfy oak chair closer to the kettle, from where I could see the cellar door, to give her encouraging instructions as she emerged from the darkness every so often.  You know what, I never knew one person could sweat that much! it must be doing wonders for her health, eliminating the toxins, so I imagine she will be thanking me when she sees how much weight she's lost.  However, the real advantage of moving my chair of course is the added bonus that she wouldn't have to pause to make me a cuppa?  A ladies spade doesn't hold as much earth as the proper sized one so she has to dig twice as much and it would be unfair of me to break her stride wouldn't it?

So anyway, I hosed her down in the backyard and off we went to the local multiplex to see:

I am the very model of a grumpy old man when exposed to something I don't like and my full arsenal of discouraging words were locked, loaded and ready for use when Mrs Bob and I entered the cupboard sized cinema to watch the film "Yesterday".  With its story line revolving around an event where the world, with the exception of the odd person, forgot about The Beatles and their music.   

One person who didn't was an Asian singer/songwriter struggling for success.

I had visions of that crappy Mama Mia stuff being thrown at me but have to report that the film was FABBO!    Written by the brilliant Richard Curtis of Blackadder fame and with some great acting by the whole cast including a cameo for Ed Sheeran, the film was very funny, entertaining and kind of relived the rise of The Beatles music anew.  I laughed out loud in places.

It is great in that it renews your interest and introduces the music of, the best band that ever there was, to a whole new audience who sadly, may never have heard Beatles music if not for this.   I loved it, and I think you would too.

Bobs Christmas gift tip Number3.
Its a cracking family film too so check it out or buy it for someone for Christmas.  Its perfect for us who still use DVD players.

"No he's not, Yes he is, no he's not Jimi Hendrix is better, Jeff Beck is better than both of them"  and I won't even go into the amount of note twiddling scale expressway, speed guitarists who some say are better than all of them, "no they're not, yes they are no they're not"  say another faction of guitar addicts
ad infinitum.   It's healthy for music and diversity and it opens pathways to creativity, however it can negatively downgrade and degrade the music that was the root cause for that creativity in the first place and Eric Clapton finds himself in that invidious situation a lot of the time.  On the one hand we have the commercial Clapton with the dreadful Cream debut "Wrapping Paper" or "Wonderful Tonight" which may have been written with great sentiment and love but for me, would have been better if he had just made it a private recording and given it to Patti Harrison as a love token and not inflicted it on the world.  It ranks alongside "Lady in Red" for slushy, middle of the road pop sentiment.

The other side of that equation is as Eric Clapton the ballsyiest blues and R n' B guitarist and innovator of guitar style in the 60's that continues as the base of all rock songs.  There was no-one to touch him and with the release of the famous John Mayal "Beano" LP he single handedly changed and/or massively improved the playing of a generation of British guitar players who learned all his solos note for note and wore out a few copies of the LP doing it.    On that recording he insisted that he played at the volume he played at in the clubs and it was the technicians problem to sort it out, he did every guitarist a favour that day, although the producer has claimed total credit for that sound.   The Gibson Les Paul became the 'must have' instrument and 50 watt Marshall amps flew off the shelves.  The only person who had done that before in the new age of electric instruments was Hank Marvin with his stratocaster and VOX amp.   
I can't think of a British guitarist since then who has had that impact.  None.
These two icons of British music were 'Pioneers', laying the foundations for generations to copy and copy they did!
Eric Clapton wasn't just a blues player either. 

The depth of the mans quality doesn't shine any brighter that his playing and solo on The Beatles "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".   Without being given any prior warning was asked by George Harrison who was giving him a lift into London if he would come into the studio then and there and play on the track.
George had a red sunburst Les Paul in the boot of his Rolls that he gave to Eric to use for the session and its sound coupled with the capture of Eric's moment of creative feeling, urgency and immediacy was a spot of magic and don't you forget it.  

The style of song George had written wasn't in Clapton's style, written in a descending A minor rundown Harrison wanted the sound of a weeping guitar
and Clapton nailed it straight away.  For sure it is one of the most enduring and recognisable pieces of guitar work in The Beatles catalogue and Eric's selection of notes and phrasing truly conveyed a feeling of sadness.  As a teen I spent hours lying on my back listening to it at some volume absorbing and copying his touch as he swooped from note to note, truly amazing piece of work.  Add that to his reworking of Dylan's "Don't think twice, its Alright" as performed at the Tribute to Bob Dylan Concert which was a moment of listening bliss, his guitar work was immense and the look on Steve Croppers face as he was playing said it all.

I wanted to write about him because he is not getting any younger and is suffering from ailments that don't make playing comfortable.   I recall with disgust that BB King was booed in Chicago towards the end of his life, I guess he just didn't know when to stop.  Eric has mentioned or threatened to stop touring a couple of times and I'm sure he will pick his moment to bow out gracefully.

We all know this famous picture from the 60's.   I went to see him play the same night that this photo came to the press and you know what? I was right at his feet at some club and I could swear there was some spots of black paint on his fingers?  Self promotion is the best way forward.    Thank you Eric for a million hours of listening pleasure.   

My recent 12 string aquisition is still it is case waiting for Christmas morning when I shall free it from its cardbox box.  

World mania is alive and well and going strong it would appear to me.
Dangerous Idiot in the good ol" USA walking away from the Kurds
after opening a Trump Tower in Izmir, Turkey.   Absolutely no conflict of interest there. 
Here in  Blighty we have Toffee nosed Dopes or Completely Untrustworthy oppositionists with the Devil and deep blue sea occasionally getting together to extend Brexit and when they do get a chance to talk to each other they are told that they can't talk by part time children's entertainer, Bingo Bongo Bercow, clown extraordinary under a ruling from 1604!  I'm glad he didn't have to delve too hard to find that precedent eh??     So the Brexit circus rolls on and now to divert attention from gross incompetency they are going to have another Election.  Someone will win and then put their Brexit plan forward which will be rejected by the side that lost the election
.......sleep well tonight it could get worse tomorrow.

Next months Christmas Blog promises to be GREAT!!!!

Lovings and huggings

Copyright: Bullsheadbob

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Bulls Head Bob Oct 2019. Being a guitar hero on the Cheap. Fender Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster. Harley Benton.

Hello Brummies, mates, Guitarists, music lovers, my Japanese loft-boy, ex girlfriends (well some of them).

  Well welcome to this months dollop of Brummie custard with a touch of tart rhubarb.   Isn't it great to be alive, what stories people will be telling in the years to come about this BREXIT stuff that we have been living through for the past 3 years.  The end of the month was listed as "shit or bust" but is now cancelled through lack of enthusiasm.   Watching all those clowns in Parliament is like The Mad Hatters Tea Party all shouting at the same time, Boris the Bluffer, head bullshitter in Chief,  Bercow - Celebrity wannabee and bully boy who is
paid to shout "LOUDER THAN ANYBODY ELSE", 

and no guessing who the sleepy mouse is, Jeremy Al Khoorbin, has changed his whole dialogue, only a couple of weeks back everything he said was terminated by the phrase "We demand an Election" which he doesn't want now to "Under me everything is going to be free, the NHS, prescriptions, unemployment pay to rise, free this, more that, free housing for the world.  
Till all the money has gone.   Mind you he said that about Free University last time then denied saying it at all.  I know two things, none of them are acting in our interest or wishes and none of em gives a shit.  I'm not sure if, like the Author CS Lewis, they have all been taking LSD for dessert at the heavily subsidised house restaurant menu but they're all acting like it.

So the big thing for us musos Brexit-wise is that, if we buy anything from Europe it will now be more expensive without any form of deal.  Thomann, the super, mega music European store, is German so maybe you should buy yourself something you may be watching on their site whilst you can.   I did that thing this month to be a step ahead.  More later.

I have always been a fan of shopping about for cheaper instruments and kit and one the recommendations I made in 2008 was to buy the Fender Squire Telecaster Classic Vibe for 200 quid.   It is one of the models rated to be better than Fender equivalent, I don't know about today's models of the Classic vibe as being in the same category as the first run but can say that after changing the cheap electrics, it is still a great guitar with a brilliant neck that I use frequently.  Today the price for this guitar is 350 pounds and about the same in Europe, 385 at Thomann. I was given the tip on this guitar from blog reader Tony Russell and was happy to share it with the BHB readers so thanks Tony.

The whole trick about buying and using, good, cheap guitars is NOT to be obsessed about the name on the headstock if they sound good and fill a requirement   It is certainly not necessary to pay high hundreds or thousands of pounds for a guitar if you are not planning to be a Guitar Hero, however you can become a guitar hero playing a cheap, brilliant sounding and playing guitar and this fits that bill perfectly, no-one has laughed at me whilst I play it but they are amazed by its playability.   I am not a guitar hero, I play at good venues, I own Gibsons and a Fender Strat but choose to play the Tele at times for the joy of it and have never been tempted to remove the Squier decal.  A great guitar.

Just last week, from Thomann, I bought another guitar, a the type of guitar that I have wanted to own for some time but never had a sufficient amount of cash to throw at something I would play rarely on stage or not at all and if so, only for a couple of songs. 
I wanted the brand image but wasn't too worried about the logo and I wanted a Rickenbacker 12 string to satisfy my lust to play George Harrison riffs and Byrds songs or selected other numbers that fitted this iconic electric 12 string. I am not a fan of the large bodied 330/12 variety but the 620/12 would fit my bill, however, the 620/12 is 2000 pounds or more and that is the problem.  

Because of the massive cost I was tempted to go the Aliexpress chinese guitar copying sites to buy one but knew that I would be going against all my principles on this thorny issue.   I am now pleased to say, it is now a problem solved for me.
The guitar I bought from Thomann is this:

    It is the Harley Benton C612C 12 string semi acoustic electric guitar.  It is similar in shape and image of the Rickenbacker and features a nice tear drop scratch plate.  Although it has an "in line" tuner set up and, therefore, a larger headstock than its famous counterpart it doesn't detract from the overall aesthetic.   I had seen a video of a guy previewing the guitar and importantly testing the centre of balance point and it wasn't a "neck Diver" which can oft be the problem of larger headstock.  It comes in three colours, the normal Rickenbacker red sunburst, a Paisley finish with a black scratch plate and plain black with white binding which is my preference and is a real "looker" in my opinion.   It has a solid piece of wood through the body with acoustic wings. It has two pickups with independent controls and 3 way selector switch.  Jack socket on the side of the guitar.  It doesn't have the Rick "chime" as such but it certainly has the electric sound, nice and warm from the neck pickup.

It's in the post as I write.

It costs 220 pounds!!!!!!

I have no misgivings or illusions that what I have bought is a cheap guitar and there will probably a couple of cosmetic issues with it, I have had cosmetic issues with a Gibson too so will certainly not be expecting to get anything other than what I've paid for.  It is made in China but I haven't had to go through the internet to get it, Harley Benton is Thomanns own brand. so at least there is some level of their own standards and expectations for their brand guitars.   

There are always tuning issues with 12 strings but as I only intend to use it for recording or maybe even include some tunes in the set where it is likely to be OK for 2 or 3 songs and if it does start "going south" I luckily have someone who will run it through a tuner.    I have actually bought this for my Christmas present without telling Mrs Bob, as such Im not going to open it till Christmas a risk worth taking I think?

I'm so happy about this right now, if there are issues that are worth pointing out I shall certainly do so after Christmas.  Could be a good Xmas gift for someone else too!!  

So with the two models above you could have two guitars for 500 quid that are playable and stylish, why spend more when you dont have to?  Now then, Pete Townsend used 12 strings on loads of Who tracks....yummy.  I can't wait.

THE MOVE 12 String Hits.
On a Brumbeat note, a Fender 12 string electric guitar featured quite a lot in The Move's show and their records "Night of Fear""Fire Brigade" and "Blackberry Way" particularly rang with the sound of the electric 12 string. 

The Move also featured a couple of Byrds songs in their show which the 12 string came out again "Rock and Roll Star" and they normally finished their set with "8 Miles High", amid the TV smashing and Pyrotechnic explosions.   

Off to Harry Potter world with the Bobettes this weekend, it will be magic!! 

Take Care out there you guys.

Love Bob

Copyright: Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Bulls Head Bob Sep 2019. DAVE BALL. Bob Dylans Rolling Thunder Review. Mrs Bob willing to be Temporary Prime Minister - Shocker!

Greetings Brummies, Brumbeaters, Muso's and Mates. 

Back in 2010 I had been speaking to
Dave Ball, former Brummie guitarist who had featured in Big Bertha, The Ace Kefford Stand and most famously Procol Harum and although Dave's tenure with the latter band was no more than a year he had toured the States many times and moreover, got himself on the list of great guitar solos, one that has stood the test of time in the annals of musos brains.  That solo was on Procol Harums "Conquistador" recorded live with the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra.  Dave quit the band during the recording of Grand Hotel as he didn't see a way forward for himself immersed in all that grandiose scoring.

The following years saw him have a short career in the Army followed by a long one as a business whizz.

He was living in Switzerland at the time and said during our chat he was thinking about getting back to playing again.   He moved back to the UK in the same year and indeed formed a couple of groups with an association to Procol. The Palers being one of them.  At the same time he started on his autobiography Half Hippie Half Man, now finished and available as an E book.  During the writing he discovered he had bowel cancer and after some lengthy and painful treatment he was declared cancer free in 2014.   Energised by this he moved to Australia where he recorded his solo album "Don't Forget Your Alligator".

Going well, I thought.

Only about a week ago did I find out that, sadly, Dave had died in 2015 from recurring cancer that he thought he'd beaten.   You fight and fight and think you won and then its back which must have been a double blow, not only for Dave but all his family too.
I can't understand how I didn't know sooner. 

You couldn't miss Dave, he was really tall, a good head and shoulders above everyone else in stature.   Like the guitarists of the 60's he had immersed himself in the blues and was one of the best. He was a really nice guy too.
He had worked at Yardley's Guitar Shop in Birmingham and was well known amongst the music community.  He related an amusing short story about working there which I now republish below.   Sad thing, great guy.  If you are not familiar with the recording of Conquistador you should give it a hearing.   

You don't get tonal qualities like that with an effects pedal young man.  
God Bless You Dave.

"I was working at Yardleys at Snow Hill in 1965 - actually in the drum department with Barry Clements and later Johnny Haynes when the guy from Kay Westworths tried to get me to leave and work at his shop for the sum of Three pounds four shillings and sixpence a week but I said no because I was already getting Four Pounds and Ten Shillings working for that annoying bugger Charlie Hewitt at Yardleys. Should have taken it really because Charlie sacked me soon afterwards because I wouldn't go home and change into a suit 'I'm not having you here looking like an imitation cowboy, go home and change or pick up your cards" which I did, pick up my cards that is..............."


Martin Scorcese is the best music film director ever and now the netflix film of Bob Dylans 1975 Rolling Thunder Review Tour is added to those previous and precious triumphs.   The biggest surprise for me was Dylan himself and the way he threw himself into a theatrical manner with such enthusiasm he adopted for this tour.  His musicianship is superb and his knowledge of music outstanding.   The quality of his band wasn't too shabby either as it had Mick Ronson (Spiders from Mars) Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) and even Joni Mitchell as part of the line up too.   It didn't appear that Mick Ronson was "at home" with this style of music and seemed, to me, to be a bit of a one trick pony playing wise.   It maybe explains one short clip where someway through the tour, Ronson says in answer to a question about Bobs thoughts on something,  "Mmm I dont know, Bob hasn't spoken to me".    

Scorceses docu-filming style is excellent and the editing fantastic.   It is interspersed with clips from the 1978 Dylan film Renaldo and Clara.   As a typical Dylan mystery teaser there are some celebrity interviews included and some of them are fictional and it leaves you to guess which is real and not which is nicely inventive.    The music is the real star and Dylans aggressive handling of his past songs was fantastic to watch.  I found it a tad slow to get into but its well worth the watch, highly recommended.  I shall be watching it again.  It would make a great Christmas gift for the Dylan lover in your life.


Mrs Bob has announced on local radio that to solve the country's woeful problem with its spineless politicians that she would be willing to take on the role of Temporary Prime Minister.  She's rushed upstairs to her "Lady Room" to get ready for the Press to make contact.   The thing is, it was a cookery show she was on when she announced it, she told me "I meant to say "and then add a stick of cinammon" but the lure of high level politics loomed out of nowhere and the PM thing came blurting out".   I don't hold out that any Press will be calling her but I set up a couple of spotlights and mic'd her up and positioned her laptop so it shows her best side.   I've asked some mates from the boozer to give her a few phone calls pretending to be the Press, asking about her manifesto, that'll keep her in a good mood and should give me plenty of time to watch replays of the mighty Villa against Everton and Crewe.

Maybe it would be a good idea to elect her though.

Keep Hall Green, Green!


Copyright.  Bullsheadbob


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Bulls Head Bob August 2019. The seaside gigs. JOHNNY NEAL - back in Action?

Hello Maties,

Having recently watched the brilliant film "Stan and Ollie" regarding the decline of Laurel and Hardy and their UK Tour, Mrs Bob and I ventured North to the Fun Capitol of the World that is Blackpool. 
As a kid this was a paradise for fun and frolics, the temple of mirth and merriment.  It was the late fifties when the factories closed down for two weeks and the workers made their way to the coast.  "Are we there yet?, I can smell the Sea!!" and for sure there was no better sight than that first glimpse of the sea for this City kid upon arrival.  As you got to the beach the smell of suntan lotion and cigarette smoke became all pervasive and our family of parents plus four kids, would waddle like Emperor Penguins through the masses, desperately seeking a square yard of sand in which to huddle, smother ourselves in Amber Solaire and lay our holiday eggs so to speak.  
Of course being the 50's all my memories were in black and white

Fast forward a few years to my teens, the swingin 60's, I visited Blackpool a couple of times but this time as part of a touring group, as did some other Brummie groups of the day,
sometimes we would pass each other on the road in our lipstick covered vans and all give each other a wave or the 'V' sign, (in the English sense) depending on what you thought of them, followed verbally by "Wankers!".

If you were in a bigger band you didn't wave back.....van snobbery. Its hard to conceive that The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were amongst the more famous bands doing the same thing...but only to each other of course. It was a rite of passage.   

We did all the piers and clubs around the UK coast and once a year we would de-camp to Wales where a promoter would put us up in a farm house and we would go and lie on the beach, travelling to various Welsh gigs throughout a 10 day period.  We would see the posters for us as we approached the various seaside towns and it gave you a lift because you knew there was always an energetic crowd egging you on, enjoying themselves which was a great reward to any band.   It was a fun time and I had as much fun as I could get.    

These days you could have the beach to yourself.  Sadly most of those venues have long since closed too.    Blackpool is quite shabby today and maybe it was just as shabby back then but I never noticed.   Tribute bands up the ying-yang...Urrgh!  Its weird but it felt like a Stephen King Movie where I was in two different realities and my past was fading away in front of my eyes.  It was nice to revisit if only for a day but I felt as if I was in black and white to others  Social attitudes and expectations have changed so much though and rarely would a child above 2 be happy with a bucket and spade, they'd be looking for the USB port.  "Where's the controller Daddy?"  

and now some gossip...
JOHNNY NEAL - Back in Action??
Now I'm not one who likes gossip but I hear that Johnny Neal could be thinking of doing a small gig in Brum.  Well thinking is not good enough if you ask me.  I know that there are several musicians of the day who would be delighted to get up and knock out some songs with him and they have even discussed it....but this is only gossip.    Johnny had a great career in South Africa after his days in rock and roll Birmingham.  He returned to Birmingham a few years back where he rightly should be.   With his band The Starliners he graced the stages of the UK for a long time until getting a cabaret gig in SA which turned out to be a winner when he wrote and recorded a song that topped the charts there.

There is one thing for sure and that is if you were a cool dude way back in the 50's and 60's there's a chance that you might have become a fuddy duddy, stick in the mud sort of guy 60 odd years later, playing golf.    Well I'm pleased to say that my worries are unfounded and today he still looks the business.

Johnny Neal copyright Maggie Neal
Johnny celebrated his birthday last month.  May you have many more my friend!!   If, according to gossip, he does go ahead and do a gig you will get the hot news right here first.   I'm pretty sure its all fanciful wishes and gossip on my part though!!  That is unless his musical mates convince him to do the right know who you are?

OK you folks, I'm off to the Swimming Pool.  Pastie and hot Bovril afterwards!!

Glug Glug


Copyright   Bullsheadbob

Monday, 1 July 2019

Bulls Head Bob JULY 2019. Festival Madness. WEE WILLIE HARRIS- King of Punks.

Hello Brummies,


What a scorcher!! nobody sliding around in the mud at Glastonbury for a change and FREE WATER and sun block at a festival is unheard of before, good job Mr Eavis.   I am not one of those who is lucky enough to go to Glastonbury this year but am lucky enough to play at festivals occasionally although the word Festival is so widely used these days it could be anything.  Mrs Bob and I go to the annual "Festival Shagstock" at our local boozer "The Shag and Crumpet" even though its not a Festival at all, its in the car park.  This year the bill  consists of the village dance troupe of 6 to 13 year old girls, all at differing levels of ability, calling themselves The Little HorrorZ and HOT STUFF followed by a Silent Drill Marching Display from the Girl Guides - which would be the same girls who just did the dancing plus hat.  "Big Dave" is on next with his Tribute to the hits of Jess Conrad, so that means he will be off a couple of minutes later.  He had been in heated discussion with the landlord that he should be the last act on because he'd played at least two prior gigs. 
However, top of the bill is the landlords son with his pre-puberty band who are "Satans Henchmen" well, when their Mums let them.  It will be their much anticipated first gig and will be attended by all the girls in the village who just happen to be......... less hat.  A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

It was interesting to see that Janet Jackson was on the same thinking terms as "Big Dave" and perhaps, based on the amounts of gigs she'd done, had the official Glastonbury poster reprinted in America putting herself top of the bill.  Below is the Glastonbury poster.

Here is the poster that Ms Jackson sent out as a tweet.

A few years back The Wurzels were booked for Glasto but pulled out because they found out they weren't on the Pyramid doesn't get more bizarre than that for me.  The Wurzels??

The birth of British Rock and Roll was televised every Saturday evening "Live" at 6.05 and was aptly entitled the Six Five Special.  Although naive by today's standards it was a must in our house and my 2 elder sisters would be getting some jive practise in whilst it was on before going out to The Galleon Dance hall close to where I lived.   My Father thought they were going Ballroom Dancing but they would arrive at the Galleon and change into their Bopping gear.   Six Five Special was the only TV show that catered for the modern music of the day.  A couple of the acts were a bit suspect and not really Rock and Roll like Don Lang and His Frantic Five, a Trombone player and his jazz band with a name change and Miss Winifred Atwell, a Trinidadian pianist.  However, the rest was Rock and Roll and we loved it.   It became the music of the youth and furthermore, started a rebel based social structure within the UK.  If ever there was someone who portrayed all of that anti establishment rebelliousness it was the fabulous.........

There were two people who stood out on that show for me and that was Joe Brown and the fabulous Wee Willie Harris.  At 5 foot 2 inches, Willie had been the resident pianist at the 2i's coffee bar in Soho, the birthplace of British Rock.  His appearance was dramatic for those times, pounding away on the piano like Jerry Lee on acid, he was wild.   With his drape jacket and bow tie and THAT HAIR!! totally unacceptable in British Society, so much so he was considered a decadent influence, by the British Press, on the youth generation of the day moreover, the programme 6.5 Special was considered to have crossed the line, morally speaking for promoting him.   It was big news.  For me he was the first Punk, disorderly long red hair, drape jacket and absolutely insane on stage.  

"Punk and Disorderly"

Playing the guitar was a necessity.  There wasn't always a piano available to a touring musician.    Willie had his first 78rpm release, "Rockin at the 2i's in 1957
followed several others including "I go Ape" but he failed to get a record into the top 10.  

He was the Headline Act of the Moss Empire Live Tours and was loved by the kids and hated by their parents. Music taste changes but that didn't mean he stopped playing and performing, because he has been at it since that first job at the 2i's playing everywhere across the world.   

I've heard recently that he has finally hung up his boots and called it a day.
His final retirement.....  Although that could change.

Willies fame was a roller coaster affair like many long standing acts.  He was fortunate, in the 70's, to have been mentioned in Ian Dury's song "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" and had a resurgence onto the scene.

Willies last CD release was in 2018 appropriately on the "Rollercoaster" record label. The Wee Willie Harris story.  Sixty one years since that first recording.

I believe its true to say that the period that had the most influence on the British musical youth, including those who would grow up to be the 60's rock mega-heroes from Birmingham, was from the late 50's onwards and like me, those mega heroes too watched the 6.5 Special on a Saturday evening, we were the same age and with our newly acquired acoustic guitars we copied all their moves and songs and all had our favourites and we became the groups that emerged in the dance halls of the 60's influenced purely by these rock n rollers except that, we were louder.   It is reported that John Lennon and Paul McCartney queued for his autograph at an appearance in Liverpool. 

He was energy, he was rebellious and that little guy with his shocking unkempt red hair was the meanest of the bunch.  One of my heroes.  Thanks Willie.  

Its Barbecue madness here.  I've put on on pair of shorts for the occasion but have bolted the back gate so nobody can see me in them, the Bobettes think its funny but you don't want to go around frightening people unnecessarily do you?

Have some Luv


Copyright:  Bullsheadbob


Saturday, 1 June 2019

Bulls Head Bob. June 2019. Aston Villa. Twitching. The Moody Blues, Mystery Clint Warwick CD!! Voiceless Spice Girls

Howdee doo Brummies and 60's music fans from around the globe, the first of the month is upon us and heralds more rubbish from me about...things


Always an Aston Villa fan from the age of 5 but for the last 4 years its been one disappointment after the other, dreading the football results on a Saturday night, seeing a team that didn't believe in themselves, knackered after 25 minutes and costing a fortune putting me in a depressive mood,
so much so, that I actually stopped following them.  

Mrs Bob said I was a much nicer person.

The week after my announcement they started to play like a team.  I became like someone who has given up smoking, instead of sneaking out to the shed to have a crafty fag I would say "Fancy some chocolate Mrs Bob?" then nip down to the newsagents to read the sports pages.
It gave me great delight to see the Club back in the Premier League at last.  You will be pleased to know that I shall remain an unsupporter forever, Mrs Bob has gained a few pounds.  


Obviously I am back from my Bird Watching Adventure in Spain.   

Loads of wine and food, no sign of europeans digging Brexit trenches but most of all, it was a great reward for the soul to see so many magnificent large birds in their natural setting.
It reminded me of playing at Ladies Evening at Cheltenham Town Hall on a Wednesday night!!
A little joke there for my feminist pals.  

Also I must say that travelling through Birmingham airport is always so much nicer compared to other regional airports so well done us Brummies!!

and the next......
Clint Warwick was the best R&B bassist in Birmingham in the early sixties and it was no surprise that he became the bassist for the first and best line up of The Moody Blues, mates of The Beatles, "Go Now" in the charts money.   It was the 60's and like many bands of that time they were robbed by their management and Clint left the band and returned to being a carpenter on the building sites.

The Moody Blues became another type of group.

Just recently, Birmingham singer and guitarist Bob Styler has come across a CD of Clint's that was in a box of other stuff he had.  
It is "My Life The Waltz" by Clint Warwick, also using his real name of Albert Eccels.  I don't know if its a song or maybe even his written history but Bob is looking for a home for it so if you are a family member or have any interest please contact me and I will pass you onto Bob.

I warned you that they'd sing again if they had the opportunity!
Well the relics of Girl Power did their first date in Dublin and of course there had to be some staged controversy, with one of them saying, pre-concert, they had a rug-munching episode with one of the others.  However the biggest controversy was that at the Dublin concert their vocals were apparently lost in the mix of the band and other audio input.

Personally, I applaud them on their choice to make the vocals inaudible, why inflict that on anyone?  Thank you Spice Girls...  The Irish thought it was a Karaoke night and just sang along.

Here's a thought.   Many years ago I was chastised by my boss for referring to my wife Mrs Bob, as "my wife" saying "it was demeaning, showed women in a bad light if they had a differing sexual orientation, and categorised them as a chattel, not an equal partner". Strange then, that those in same sex marriages refer to each other as husband and husband and wife and wife, not partner?  I don't really know what heterosexual folk are supposed to call each other any more but I guess we must have come full circle?    Just think of all that time, energy and money that could have been put to some good use for starving or homeless people for instance instead of wasted on useless "name  appropriate" bullshit that should have been left in a Junior school classroom.

Have a nice weekend.


copyright Bullsheadbob

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Bulls Head Bob May 2019. You Had to be There. Graham Nash Wild Tales

Hello Boys and Girls, 

Its May and traditionally a month of lovely weather to go cavorting into the countryside for some frolicking about in the long grass.    I on the other hand, will be doing the Birdwatching in Spain Trip thing with some close friends this very day, rest and relaxation in the hot, hot sun, deep in the Spanish hinterlands looking for big Birds, not the mini-skirted 60's variety but the great big feathered sort, floating about in the sky.  If my Mum was still alive she'd be saying "Careful now our Bob, you'll have your eyes out on those Eagles".  ....I'll try not to Mum.    I am a bit worried though that whilst I am in the back of beyond fumbling about with me Binoculars, the whole Brexit thing will go tits up and I'll be stranded there like one of those Japanese soldiers who never surrendered after the war, planning my escape through Gibraltar with the aid of some guy from MI6 called Darren or ' Deadly Daz' who'll smuggle me across in the rear of his car wrapped in a carpet or something.   I suppose that then I could write a book about it and call it... Daz Boot! ..........exit stage left.

No doubt during this sojourn to foreign parts, complete with "as much wine as you can drink", the stories of the 60's music days, playing the length and breadth of the country will rear their heads, its in our blood.   There is always still a longing, a few litres of red-eye brings on the humour and then the stories and finally, in the early hours afterglow, the melancholy sidles in easily enough, reminding us of our great adventure, missed opportunities and lost youth.   "Yeah, he's dead now"  "Died years ago" is something getting a little too familiar on the ear of this young at heart.

Although I was a part of it all, I sometimes felt like a passenger too, swept along into experiences I'd never had before, I was just a kid with everything changing in front of my eyes and I can assure you I had as much of it as a grown man could absorb and more.  

A grey post war Britain was getting back on its feet, factories at full throttle with full employment and bomb-damaged buildings being demolished raised the spirits of the nation and we were feeling prosperous and glad to be alive.   All it took was Lonnie Donegan thrashing out some skiffle to kick start the greatest music and social revolution that has ever been known.    It is hard for today's youth to appreciate those vast changes.  At a recent dinner party the young lady sat next to me said "Please don't tell me that you think The Beatles changed music or anything else, they were just a boy band"........there is a time for silence in conversations and I took the opportunity to use that instead of jumping down her throat with indignation.    I settled for "They weren't a boy band" and "You had to be there to really know what difference they made".  Somehow I think she had received that reply before, little git!!

In today's society where success is fleeting, it does give me a deal of satisfaction to still hear the music of my generation riding high, all of it being covered or sampled by some faceless entity calling themselves 'BB Hot Snot' or some other soubriquet that that you will forget as soon as you've heard it because you've heard it all before.  There have been boy bands a plenty and girl bands a plenty too churning out their bubble-gum pop crap like the Spice Girls who became a super phenomenon based on "girl power" whatever that was or is?  They certainly wont be remembered for any of their songs but The Beatles will, that gives me satisfaction a plenty because like the majority of readers of the blog who WERE THERE during those historic days we have something marvellous to hang our hat on because we did it first.

I have long been an admirer of Graham Nash's voice, I spent an afternoon at his house in London in 1968 he played me the acetate to King Midas in Reverse and in turn he listened to an acetate of a couple of tracks the band I was with had recorded earlier that day, "Who is singing that harmony" he said "Me" I replied, "Blimey you sound like me"........I don't know if I fainted with glee at receiving such a great compliment but it has stuck in my head ever since, a treasured moment.

He was just at the stage of leaving The Hollies and going to America, the rest is history, Woodstock, Joni Mitchell, CSN etc etc.   He made one of my favourite solo LPs, even now, 'WILD TALES' it was called and I love it.  He must have loved it too because he wrote a book of the same title in which he recalls his rise right from his Manchester school days with his pal Alan Clarke up to the present day.
It is a good read and, as a musician of about the same age, we both experienced the same sort of experiences but in a different location and with the obvious exclusion of me not being a pop superstar.   

I strongly recommend reading this book for those of us who "Were there" its a nice re-visit to better times.

Well have a Happy May Day and do things that people do on such a day. I shall probably be very uncomfortable about now encased in a RyanAir aircraft.

Tara a bit

Copyright Bullsheadbob


Monday, 1 April 2019

Bulls Head Bob April 2019 - DAVE PEACE - Crawdaddies. DANNY GALLAGHER - FROSTY MOSES

Hello All,

Firstly may I say how nice it was to receive so many emails regarding the passing of my Sister, Gill.

My older sister, she was the one who kept me on the straight and narrow (almost) for the majority of my young life.The same week she passed I had received news already about Dave Peace dieing and four days after that I received a call to say that my old mate Danny Gallgher had passed away too so it was a dreadful month for me. 

Internationally we also saw the death of incredible drummer Hal Blaine, famed as a member of The Wrecking Crew and who were responsible for most of the great records to come out of the USA and was on the greatest single of all time, God Only Knows.  Anyway, a couple of goodbyes to our early Brumbeat pioneers, firstly:

Way back, when you could only buy amps with valves in, the Group explosion had taken place and every road in Brum had a band in it.   One of those people who got the musical urge was Dave Peace.  Dave was a "trained" keyboard player, a rarity on the early group scene and he had no problem surrounding himself with a few close friends to form the R&B band The Crawdaddies along with Dave Pegg, Micky Herd and Don Turner.   There was always work for good bands and they featured in such legendary venues as The Silver Beat Club, The Garden of Eden and so forth, chunky organ sound prevailing although Dave did learn and play guitar too.   The band scene was vibrant then and, as such, there were some comings and goings in the band and some name changes to fit the musical scene of the day.  One change for Dave was to take the front and became the Dave Peace Quartet, largely blues based, and with this band he recorded his first LP, Good Morning Mr Blues which is still to be found on Ebay
He later formed another band called BIRMINGHAM and also "Piece of Mind" who, I understand, still have a following.
Later in his career Dave was one of the session men on Wings "Live and Let Die" LP which indeed was a fitting climax as a long term, successful musician and a Brummie.

Because I was in a busy working band I never got to see him play or indeed even met him but had heard about him from Dave Pegg.   My thanks to Ken Reeves for furnishing me with much of this information.
My condolences go out to Dave's family and friends.

I knew Danny from a very early age, one of the Irish kids who had settled in the Sparkbrook area of Brum.   He was the first person I knew who was in a proper band, The Solitairs, and not just groups who played at youth clubs waiting to get a proper booking at a Dance Hall, I was in awe of that.   He had dyed his hair and had tight drainpipe trousers and winkle picker shoes three miles long.
Danny, second right.
He, myself and Keith Poulton who lived nearby and also a guitarist, used to talk for hours about Hank B Marvin, guitars, amps and of how famous we would all become.  Danny being Irish, always had the most outrageous plans which he guaranteed would happen....they never did but that was all part of the excitement of being in a group and all part of wild ambition and youth.  

Keith decided that the working life was for him and although he still plays today, didn't venture too much into the always broke scene of a musician.   Danny and I triumphed at the latter.   Dedication pays though and we both featured in some bands and even in the same one, but the one I had just left before he joined so we never actually played together on stage throughout our long friendship. Quite strange really..

I left Brum and we naturally drifted apart but reunited many years later, he was no longer playing gigs but he was still in the music and was operating the sound desk at The Roadhouse as well as being a seriously good Martial Arts instructor.  After some chat between us about playing he got his act together and decided to pick up the bass and play a little more seriously again forming a new band or two in Brum with Dave Hynds ex Cheetahs.  Uniting with Dave was almost a return to his early days in the Solitairs when both of them were in Ma Regans agency playing all those well known Gigs.

I knew Danny well, his ambition and driving personality was a real boon to a band but could also be a tad overpowering to those who didn't understand the thirst of the man.   Whilst there was a remote chance of anything happening he would push people to the limit to try and get the best from them.  He encouraged me from an early age to push myself hard to get better and he was right, some others couldn't do the discipline.  However, as a person, he was beautiful, a kind and lovely guy, pale blue Irish eyes glinting away, always the threat of a bit of mischief and us two did get into some mischief alright when we was scruffs. I loved his Mum and I loved this man too,  God Bless You Danny Gallagher thanks for the memories my friend.

John has written a more comprehensive time line on him on the BRUMBEAT.NET website, The Pie Stand Page.  Phew, what a drag this months blog has been.  

I would love to have something uplifting to share with you but its all Brexit and the world is in a panic - a shambles of a Government and each one of them should be made to go on TV and formally apologise to the Nation for being total wankers.  Corbyn wants to throw even more shit on the pile calling for a general election "Now", he's probably looking to sneak in a ministerial post for his old mate Derek Hatton to who he restored Labour Party membership, Chancellor of the Exchequer comes to mind? then they could re-enact their historic parts in the bankrupting of Liverpool, only now they will have the whole country's money to play with, why not get "Call me Tony" Blair back as well as Minister of Defence after all he started all that shit!  These are the alternative Government.
Run for the hills.


Take Care you guys
Love and Peace.


Copyright:  Bullsheadbob